Jun Takahashi’s last collection with Uniqlo will be available on August 31, 2012 in the US. This parka is my favorite piece in the group, and I’m equal parts fascinated and grossed-out by the campaign.
Des Kohan is a boutique that gets its fair share of fashion press, but still manages to feel like a hidden gem. I use the word gem purposely because I think their jewelry selection is the best in Los Angeles. My first revelation at Des Kohan was the pearl-bead and leather necklaces by Annie Costello Brown, so it’s only fitting that ACB is the focus of this post. Store-owner, Desiree Kohan, collaborated with ACB on a wonderful range of jewelry pieces made from shells, leather and raw brass. Annie herself would style these pieces with clothes made from natural fabrics so as to complement the unrefined nature of the materials comprising the jewelry. Desiree’s input as someone who’s daily work is to understand how women want to adorn themselves is to integrate convertible features so that necklaces can be looped in numerous ways both around the neck and the wrist and disassembled to form separate pieces. Everything in the small collection is thoughtfully conceived for subtle impact, just the sort of thing that seamlessly integrates into any woman’s jewelry box.
I was at French Trotters in Paris earlier this year when I first spotted Apolis. The brand was straightforward, unfussy and I liked how the company made a social message and fashion work together - Steven Alan with a soul, if you will. Fast forward a few months and a friend detours us into a shop preparing to open in the downtown LA arts district and I’m re-introduced to Apolis. I’m still impressed by the quality, the design and the mission.
It’s not news that an owner’s personal aesthetic and vision is the fundamental distinction between boutique and chain. It’s what I love about shopping in small stores, but Kristin Dickson’s Iko Iko is probably the most intensely personal store I’ve ever visited. Everything - from the clothes, the jewelry, the art even the clothing racks and shopping bags – has a wonderfully personal connection.
Although I usually go to clothes first, I’m riveted by the wall of necklaces made by Hannah Keefe. She uses silver solder to bind brass chains together. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
As I deep dive into the clothes, I’m struck by the textures: rough, soft, stiff, silky, smooth. Kristin designs the clothes under the label Rowena Sartin and she tells me that the pieces frequently start out as her own wardrobe desires. Her impetus for fashion design is so commonsensical as to be completely revolutionary to the rest of the fashion world. In general, the clothes start as basic dresses and shirts, but then she plays with it. I’m particularly taken with a collar made in satin with distressed silk-chiffon strips. It’s a clever accent piece waiting for the perfect occasion or a fashion photo shoot. I’m also drawn to a mobius chain in a wrinkled linen that has lots of possibilities for wearer customization and vague echoes of Star Wars.
There’s a lot to see in this small store apart from the clothing and jewelry. There’s art on the walls, ceramics, the display pieces, small jewelry and little accent bags. Kristin speaks so fondly of everything when I ask questions. It’s obvious that she’s connected with each artist who creates the beautiful and quirky objects in her store.
I walk out of Iko Iko with the latest issue of Fantastic Man tucked into a cute sack made by Kristin’s mom. I’ll be back for sure.